This Month in Wearables: May 2016



Major news and new releases in the world of wearables

Welcome to the latest installment of JCK’s This Month in Wearables—a monthly rundown of what’s hot and happening in the world of wearable devices and technology. 

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Jawbone Rumored to Be Faltering
Before Fitbit took over the wearable world, there was Jawbone—a seminal smart tech company that helped make wearables hot commodities. Now Tech Insider is reporting that sources have said the company “
has stopped making its UP fitness trackers and sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller…. The company has struggled to sell the devices and was forced to offload them at a discount to a reseller in order to get the revenue it needed to keep the business going, according to the source.”

 

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New Huawei Watches Debut in the United States
Huawei, maker of some of the most sophisticated looking/feeling smartwatches for women, unveiled its pretty new Jewel and Elegant models for purchase in the United States in early May. Stockists currently include Best Buy, Newegg, and B&H Photo. They’re gorgeous, but they don’t come cheap—both models hover around $500 retail, under from the $349 tag for first-gen Huawei watches. 

 

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The Met Ball Goes High-Tech
This year’s Met gala in New York City was high-tech by design—the theme was “Manus x Machina,” and the dress code was “tech white tie.” Celeb looks were hit or miss, as usual: Katy Perry affected a goth Cleopatra, Claire Danes’ glowing Cinderella dress by Zac Posen was gorgeous. But best of the bunch was supermodel Karolina Kurkova, who wore a Marchesa dress powered by IBM that featured 150 LEDs in handmade 3-D flowers. The flowers lit up when anyone tweeted #CognitiveDress. IBM’s Watson gauged the tweet’s “emotions,” then lit up the dress in different colors that matched the emotions.

 

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Samsung Announces Release of Charm Fitness Tracker 
In mid-May, tech company Samsung announced that its Charm fitness tracker will launch “soon” in select markets. The cute tracker (above), which is available in gold, black, and rose quartz, counts steps and notifies users of calls, texts, and social updates using LED flashes. The rub—it’s compatible only with Samsung smartphones.

 

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Fitbit Is the Top Wearable Brand—and Will Add Pay Capabilities
According to an IDC report released earlier this month, Fitbit is the top-selling wearable brand globally, and Apple is the world’s top-selling smartwatch maker. The other brands in the top-five? Xiaomi, Garmin, and Samsung. Read the full report here. Additionally, Wareable reports that Fitbit payment technology is coming: “Fitbit just bought wearable payments technology from financial tech startup Coin. Why does that matter? Because Fitbit still sells more wearables than any other company—including Apple—and by the looks of early Alta and Blaze model sales, will continue to do so into 2017. So using wearables to pay for stuff could take off in a big way.”

(Photos, from top: courtesy of Jawbone; Huawei; Getty Images; Samsung; Fitbit)

JCK Magazine Editor